Ogoni: Shell and Police instigate violence in Ogoni
“We are seeing behaviour from these mobile police, which in any other community would already have sparked serious clashes and conflict. They have involved themselves in assisting youths from the community in violently pursuing and assaulting others on several occasions in the past two weeks,” said MOSOP President Ledum Mitee in Port Harcourt today.
“We are equally outraged that these Mobile Police are operating from a Shell facility in K Dere. After the recent admissions by Shell that they contribute to conflict in the Niger delta , we expected that in one of the most sensitive areas in the Niger delta they would be capable of discerning the dangers of their actions.”
The Mobile Police unit of 4 armed men was originally
posted to the manifold of pipelines crossing Ogoni (cited by SPDC as carrying
around 200,000 barrels of oil per day) on the justification of providing security
for staff who clamped a leaking valve in the first week of their presence. The
MOPOL have now remained at the site for over 2 weeks and have been involved
in at least three separate incidents of pursuing members of the community in
the company of armed youths, with those captured on each occasion being assaulted
and in more recent cases cut with machetes.
“We also firmly believe that the continued presence of these mobile police would not be possible without the financial assistance of Shell, whether direct or indirect. This actually comes in addition to prior destabilisation of the K Dere community from illegal and inappropriate payments made through one of its contractors, Casella Nigeria.”
“We believe Shell is paying for a disastrous set of interventions which breach the most basic standards of police and corporate conduct. If there is any meaning to Shell’s claims of integrity and business principles then we expect immediate steps to end their involvement in unethical and illegal efforts to undermine community resistance to their operations as well as an investigation which is made public. ”
“It is precisely this kind of deployment of a small violent unit which provoked an incident in April 2000 which was used to justify sweeping violence and destruction by mobile police reinforcements, my own detention and that of over 20 others on charges which were shown to be palpable nonsense.”
“We are calling for the immediate withdrawal of these police and an internal and external investigation into the underhand methods being used by Shell to secure access to the K Dere area which fly in the face of their claims to be interested in reconciliation. There is also an immediate task for the Inspector General of Police to ascertain why his forces are becoming involved in direct violence against community members,” said Ledum Mitee.
Bari ara Kpalap, Information Officer, MOSOP, 20th August 2004
Ph 0803 341 6796 / (+234) 803 341 6796 mobile
(+234) 84 84 233 907 office